A wedding is often one of the most important days in a couple’s lives, and as the wedding photographer, there’s a lot of pressure on you to capture those memories in the best way possible. This lesson is a quick guide to everything you’ll need to think about when starting out.
How to Start a Wedding Photography Practice
Think About Your Offering
What you'll offer is a tricky one and this might change over time — that's perfectly normal — businesses are always evolving and developing, and there's no shame in you deciding that something isn't working out well and changing it. It’s all about whatever is right for you and for your clients. The trick to starting is to start start practicing. Give yourself a small assignment that will help you build your photographic skills and your wedding portfolio.
- Notice the Details — How to Make Wedding Photography That Tells a StoryMarie Gardiner30 Mar 2022
- Essentials of Visual Storytelling for Wedding PhotographersMarie Gardiner30 Mar 2022
Get Your Paperwork in Place
Deciding to become a wedding photographer is a big thing and takes a lot of preparation and determination when starting out. It’s so important to be properly insured and make sure paper work such as contracts and licenses are all in order. It can be the most boring part for some people, but without it, you’re setting yourself up for a fall. Once it's all in place you can rest much easier knowing that you're covered from anything to have your kit stolen to being sued because you ruined the photos.
- 3 Must-have Documents for All Wedding PhotographersMarie Gardiner24 Mar 2022
- Are You Ready for the Worst? Insuring Your Photo & Video KitMarie Gardiner11 Jun 2015
Build Your First Portfolio
Remember, when looking for wedding pictures to display, they don't necessarily have to come from a wedding. Explore co-promotes with other companies, set up photoshoots with models or even friends, or look into attending wedding fairs with fashion shows.
- How to Build Your First Wedding Photography PortfolioMarie Gardiner29 Mar 2022
- How to Organize Your Photos for Editing Photography PortfoliosNona Blackman11 Feb 2022
Choosing and Editing Your Images
When it comes to choosing your images, remember not to discard any, just move them to another folder in case you decide to come back to anything later. Make several passes until you're happy that you've got the main photographs that you want to start editing, and when you do, keep your style consistent regardless of whether you choose to use actions.
- How to Review a Wedding Photography Shoot and Pick Which Photos to EditMarie Gardiner06 Apr 2022
- Wedding Photography Post-Production Workflow: Picture Editing, How to Add StyleMarie Gardiner15 Apr 2022
Make sure your website, social media, and portfolio are all up to date and look professional. Sometimes it can be hard for us to see this when we're too close, so think about a professional portfolio review or failing that, have a trusted professional wedding photographer have a look at it and give you advice.
- 3 Tips for Marketing a New Wedding Photography BusinessMarie Gardiner28 Mar 2022
- 8 Top Wedding Photography Portfolio Video Templates for After EffectsMarie Gardiner09 Mar 2022
Get Comfortable Your Camera and Lighting
Kit isn't everything but you do need the essentials and then backups of those. Remember to include fast prime lenses in your kit if possible but don't discount the usefulness of zooms, wide-angle and macro lenses either.
A flash or speed light is essential but be clever with your light and use natural or environmental light when you can.
- How to Build a Wedding Photography Camera KitMarie Gardiner29 Mar 2022
- A Photographer's Guide to Small Flash and Speedlight FeaturesJamie Evan30 Mar 2022
- How to Bounce Your Flash for Soft Lighting in Portrait and Event PhotosJamie Evan30 Mar 2022
- Quick Tip: Using a Simple Portable ReflectorPeter Sawyer20 Oct 2012
Create a Great Relationship with your Clients
Invest in your clients, make them feel valued, and soon you'll see your business flourish by word of mouth. Get to know your couple so that you can deliver the best possible service for them and make them feel comfortable and confident in your ability to do your job.
- How to Build Great Relationships With Wedding Photography ClientsMarie Gardiner30 Mar 2022
- How to Help Your Photography Clients RelaxJackson Couse28 Jan 2020
Prepare, Be Confident, Stay Calm, Look After Yourself!
When you have your itinerary, prepare as much as you can by pre-visiting venues working out timings and making a list of essential shots of the day on the day itself, then refer to that list and make sure you get everything you wanted plus everything else you can think of, no detail is too unimportant.
Don't be afraid to be firm with people but remember to be polite and try to make everything as fun as possible stay calm if something should go wrong even if you don’t feel it. Take control of the situation and know that you're perfectly capable of resolving it.
Take water and snacks, and have a break when appropriate, also making use of the time to backup your images while you eat.
- Wedding Photography: How to Stay Calm Under PressureMarie Gardiner04 Apr 2022
- 6 Practical Tips for Getting Ready to Photograph Your First WeddingMarie Gardiner28 Mar 2022
Finally, finally think about what more you can give to your client to make them feel valued and like they got way more than they paid for. It'll be a relatively little cost to you to throw in an added extra but to them it could mean the world and help you get great feedback.
More Wedding Photography Resources
About The Authors
Marie Gardiner created the video course that includes this lesson, and wrote the updated text version. Marie is a writer and photographer from England, with a background in media.